The University of Newcastle, Australia

University installs new electric vehicle charging stations

Monday, 15 June 2020

Electric vehicle charging stations have been installed at the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus in an effort to make sustainable transport more accessible.

Students Connor Getley and Edward Clarkson with Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky with the electric vehicle charging station
Students Connor Getley and Edward Clarkson with Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky

The investment has seen the installation of an initial four dual charging stations with infrastructure in place to support at least 20 additional charging stations.

The stations will be powered completely by renewable energy under the University’s 100 per cent renewable electricity contract with Red Energy, which began on 1 January 2020.

The University has also adopted a policy that encourages car purchases by the University to be electric. This along with a range of other initiatives will help achieve the University’s target to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, said the investment in the charging stations underlined the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“This significant investment in making our campus electric vehicle-friendly is aimed at helping our community meet the challenges of transitioning to electric vehicles,” said Professor Zelinsky.

In December last year, the University of Newcastle became the equal first Australian university to commit to purchasing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources from 1 January 2020. It has also committed to installing an additional 1.3 megawatt of solar photovoltaic panels to take its total solar power generation to more than 1.8 megawatt.

“Environmental and social responsibility are at the core of our institution and it’s important we do whatever we can to lead on issues of environmental sustainability for our staff, students and community,” said Professor Zelinsky.

The initiative has also provided a work integrated learning opportunity for the University’s second year Design students from the School of Creative Industries, who were given the opportunity to pitch their design concepts for a car decal that will appear on all electric vehicles purchased by the University.

Students Edward Clarkson and Connor Getley produced the winning design - their work was inspired by a combination of the cells seen in leaves under a microscope and the technology cells found in solar panels.

The students both said the opportunity to gain real world experience was invaluable and getting to see their own work drive past on the University’s car was an exciting moment.

“It cannot be overstated how important it is for students to gain the experience and exposure of working in real world environments and understanding what will be required of us once we leave university,” said Edward Clarkson.

“Giving students these types of assignments really helps us build confidence. Having your design on University of Newcastle vehicles for everyone to see before you even finish your degree - it's honestly too good to be true,” said Connor Getley.

The stations provide free charging for an introductory period and free parking while vehicles are on charge, and are available for use by staff, students and the local community.

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